(WXYZ) - Free parking in Ferndale will continue as city leaders scramble to quell outrage over a new parking system and new parking rates.
At Monday night's council meeting business owners and residents complained once again the new parking kiosks are confusing, create lines and that new rates are unreasonable.
Ferndale is removing parking meters and replacing them with pay stations. Because many residents and visitors are unfamiliar with the new system people are upset over wait times at the stations – especially during the winter.
There's also criticism that not enough stations have been installed.
A parking holiday was already in effect before Monday's meeting as city leaders have been analyzing the new system and reviewing feedback.
A spokesperson for Ferndale's Downtown Development Authority says they are working to solve the problems but there are no dramatic changes planned at this point.
City officials released this statement after Monday's council meeting:
During the February 25 th City Council Meeting, City Council approved an extension of the Free Parking Holiday until the next City Council meeting scheduled for Monday, March 11 th. City Manager, April Lynch commented "Over the past three weeks, we have introduced a new parking system to the Community. This system completely changes the face of parking. It is well understood and appreciated how daunting a change like this can be. We wish to thank every resident, business, and visitor for sending us their feedback and concerns about the new parking system". The City will use this time to plan for the installation of up to 14 additional pay station machines and that have been dedicated to provide relief to the bustling Withington, Troy, Planavon, and the Library parking lots. Mayor Coulter and the City Council also indicated that this time would be used to evaluate parking rates and enforcement hours.
The City first introduced the parking holiday over this past weekend to reflect on guest feedback, and to analyze the activity data that has been generated by the new pay machines. Joseph Gacioch, Project Coordinator stated "The analysis of this data is crucial to providing us with a snapshot of our parking service activity". Between February 13th and February 20th, the current 20 pay station machines experienced over 15,500 transactions. Of these transactions, approximately 9,300 (60%) occurred between the peak hours of 5-10pm on 5 specific machines located in the Withington and Troy parking lot locations. Loyd Cureton, Director of the Department of Public Works explained, "We have been informed that our 4 busiest lots are experiencing an average 60-80 transactions per hour during peak hours; this activity represents 3-4 times the industry standard of 15-20 transactions per hour". The addition of the 14 new
"We have been informed that our 4 busiest lots are experiencing an average 60-80 transactions per hour during peak hours; this activity represents 3-4 times the industry standard of 15-20 transactions per hour".
-Loyd Cureton, Director of the Department of Public Works
pay stations is expected to reduce the average amount of transactions per hour to the industry standard.
In addition to adding more machines, City Manager Lynch indicated staff is also evaluating grouping machines in close proximity to enable more transactions to occur simultaneously, and improve the safety of the area by more numbers.
Throughout the meeting's Call to Audience, several community members voiced their opinions and concerns with regard to the new parking system. City Manager Lynch explained, "To date, our system is incomplete. We are committed to providing a quality and complete product that meets the service expectations of Ferndale and its' guests; while also improving operating efficiencies, reducing the system's susceptibility for theft, and improving the sustainability of our long term parking system".